Vidya Balan as Indira Gandhi in Bollywood?

Recently, in an interview to After Hrs, Vidya Balan confessed that she’d like to play Indira Gandhi on screen. Soon after, she was approached for a biopic on the former India PM by Rahasya director Manish Gupta.

Despite liking the script, Vidya is a little sceptical about taking it up. Manish confirms, “She has liked the script, but hasn’t given a go-ahead yet. Given that the film is on Indira Gandhi, there are precautions needed to be taken before we start.”

Gupta further adds that the script needs to be approved by the Gandhi family. It has been titled Indira. He reveals, “My film will be a tell-all tale about Indira Gandhi — right from her birth to her assassination. It’s the story of her childhood, youth, rise to power as the Prime Minister of India, her fall to near-oblivion, her comeback as PM, her final battle against extremists and her refusal to discriminate on the lines of faith, that eventually led to her assassination.”

“I approached Vidya almost three-four months ago. It would be wrong if I claim she has okayed the script. She feels it’s a nice story but she just told me, ‘How will you make the film? You don’t have the permission from the family’. I had been trying to get the permission months before I approached Vidya.”

Gupta knows that ‘it’s a sensitive issue’ so getting the permission won’t be easy.”I have been in touch with Sonia Gandhi for the last eight months. she is aware that I am doing the film. I want to meet her personally and take a direct commitment from her. That’s what I’m trying to do. Everyone who I have approached to be a part of the film want a written permission before we they can greenlight the project,” he adds.
Gupta has done his research. “I read 26 books about her,” he revealed. ‘Indira, the life of Indira Nehru Gandhi’ by Katherine Frank, ‘Indira Gandhi- a Biography’ by Pupul Jayakar, ‘Operation Blue Star- The True Story’ by Lt. Gen. K. S. Brar, ‘Tragedy of Punjab, Operation Blue Star and After’ by Khushwant Singh and Kuldip Nayar and ‘Durbar’ by Tavleen Singh are just to name a few books that have been a part of Gupta’s R&D for the project.
But has he spoken to someone close to Indiraji? “I haven’t met or spoken to people close to her, but the books I read are written by prominent people themselves. Pupul Jaykar was very close to Indira Gandhi, he was her best friend. One of the books is written by the army man who led the operation Blue Star. After reading their books, it was easy to create the narrative because they have given a very detailed insight into Indira Gandhi’s life and her political agenda.”

Manish is all smiles as he’s already found a producer to invest in his dream project. “A very big studio is interested in producing the film, provided I get the permission from the family. It’s one of the corporate houses, but I cannot name them because we haven’t worked out the technicalities yet,” he revealed.

Unlike other biopics, Indira won’t be a typical Bollywood film. He argues, “The film is not of the typical Bollywood sensibilities. There won’t be any naach gaana in the film. We wouldn’t be showing Indira Gandhi dancing in the film! It’s like a Hollywood movie, much on the likes of a film like Gandhi! It’s on that scale.”

Other than Indira, there will be characters for Indira’s sons Rajeev Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi as well. “Obviously, the film will be incomplete without their characters but I have not approached anyone yet because honestly, the movie will focus on Indira Gandhi’s character only. So the other people will be side characters and there won’t be any other A-lister in the film. It will be one of those supporting heroes instead. But I haven’t decided who to cast till now,” he signed off.